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ABOG Mourns the Loss of Leo J. Dunn, MD, MSHA

ABOG was saddened to learn of the passing of Leo J. Dunn, MD, MSHA, on February 21, 2020. Dunn was a passionate and dedicated advocate for women’s health care, and he volunteered and served in various ABOG roles, including as its President from July 1982 to June 1986 and as its Chair of the Gynecologic Oncology Division from July 1976 to June 1981. He also participated in or chaired many national examination committees, including ABOG’s specialty exams and gynecologic oncology exams. 

Dunn had a notable career, having served not only ABOG, but other national organizations as well, including the American Gynecologic and Obstetric Society (AGOS), the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the Council of Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CREOG), and he was a founding member of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO). 

In 1967, Dunn was appointed as Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) School of Medicine (later Virginia Commonwealth University) in Richmond. After 29 years, he retired his Chairmanship in 1996 but remained active on the faculty. He obtained an MSHA degree in 1998 at VCU's School of Health Administration and served as the VCU NIH Research Subject Advocate for the Clinical Research Center until 2013.

In accordance with his positive influence on women’s health care in Richmond and on the national level, Dunn’s commitment and leadership were recognized with numerous honors and awards including designation as a Markle Scholar in Medical Science, Outstanding Alumnus Award of Columbia University, VCU President's Medal, the South Atlantic Association of OB GYN Lifetime Achievement Award, and Distinguished Service Awards from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and ABMS, ACGME, MCV, and VCU. 

According to a 2019 story published in a Richmond magazine about Dunn’s incredible legacy and influence through his leadership in women’s health, he was one of the youngest medical chairs in the nation when he was appointed in 1967, and he was also the hospital’s first full-time OB GYN chair. The same article cites several instances of his pioneering approach, including mentoring the first female resident at MCV, who went on to become the first female OB GYN in Richmond. Residents who worked with Dunn described their mentor as kind, compassionate, and always steady, even when faced with some of the dire emergent circumstances that come with working in the medical profession.